We've worked with many website platforms, hosting services, and domain providers over the years, from WordPress and Wix to SiteGround and GoDaddy. Waaaay back in the day, we even tried our hand at self-hosted pages. But it's not the early 2000's anymore, and there are way better options to work with.
Previously, the platform we had the most experience with was Wordpress and our favourite domain and hosting provider was none other than SiteGround. And while WordPress certainly has its strengths, we weren't exactly fans of some of its downsides, and neither were some of our clients:
- Its user interface is clunky, outdated, and not always straightforward to navigate.
- It requires frequent check-ins to make sure plugins are up to date.
- Most concerningly, it is a frequent target for malicious hacking attempts.
You might think as a small business that your website won't be targeted, but alas, that is not the case, and while there are some great security options out there, the best of them are paid.
If you are going to pay more for add-on services, why not upgrade to a better platform that offers more value including built in security?
That platform is Squarespace.
Here are 7 reasons why your small business or personal brand would benefit from Squarespace:
1 — It's very well designed
Yes, WordPress has more templates. But we think Squarespace's are better. By offering a limited amount of starting templates, Squarespace is able to guarantee something that most other platforms can't — consistent high quality design and functionality.
Every single template they offer features a modern design that is versatile and easily customized, ensuring that your website is fully unique to your business and brand. They even offer a variety of starting points for different niches — whether you're an artist, blogger, service provider, brick and mortar, musician, or something else entirely, there will always be options that work for you.
Most importantly, your website is not only going to look professional, but function professionally too. If you are just starting out, or are are worried about moving over a lot of content, Squarespace offers the means to streamline everything together beautifully, both through its own options and with customized code.
And hey, let's say you are setting up your own website on Squarespace and you just aren't a fan of how your template is working out. You can easily change your template at any time and your content will be saved — you'll simply have to update your branding in the new template's design settings, which is so much quicker and cheaper than with other platforms.
Not only do the settings use the same menu as before, but all of these themes are accessible to you with the monthly hosting fee that you pay. Squarespace also offers free trial periods (which we include in our web design timeline) so that you can be sure that the platform works as well for you as it does for us.
2 — It's ridiculously easy to use
Not everyone is a technology wizard, and we totally get that. This is why we so strongly recommend Squarespace to everyone no matter their technical skill set. Squarespace makes it extremely easy for users to navigate the backend by featuring an intuitive menu structure, drag and drop functionality, easy-to-insert widgets, and straightforward page layouts.
Whether you need to publish a blog post, update your event calendar, add a new page, tweak some copy or imagery, or edit some settings, there's virtually no learning curve. And unlike Wordpress, the interface menu isn't going to change depending on what widgets you're using, because they've all been accounted for in the first place.
If you're looking to move forward with one of our web design packages, you'll be happy to know that we do include custom video tutorials that walk you through how to complete the most common updates on your website, and we are happy to offer more as needed.
For those that prefer to set up their own websites, we will also be releasing a walkthrough of our own website's backend, as well as some beginner's design tutorials, so that you can learn from those too.
3 — It includes built in mobile responsiveness
Gone are the days when its okay for a website to be solely designed for desktop use, and its surprising just how many websites still exist in this form. In fact, most websites nowadays are being viewed from mobile, with many having 50-80% of their traffic coming from smartphones.
It simply won't do to have a website that is cut off, misaligned, or with features that don't work on mobile devices. Which is why we are excited to share that every single Squarespace template is fully responsive, whether you are viewing from desktop, tablet, or mobile.
For the most part, you don't have to do much as Squarespace does most of the heavy lifting for you. They also offer a selection of mobile design settings depending on your chosen template, and even allow you to test your website in desktop, tablet and mobile form so that you can ensure that everything is displaying optimally for your web audience before you go live.
4 — It's effortless to integrate with
Let's start with the most simple and popular integration — social media. While every platform is capable of integrating with social media, we especially love how easy Squarespace makes it for you to integrate with, and even stream your content between, your favourite social platforms.
It also takes this a step further by integrating seamlessly with a variety of common digital services including:
- G suite for business management and a professional email
- Xero for financial tracking and analytics
- ShipStation for shipping your e-commerce products with ease
- MailChimp for basic email marketing
- Acuity for online booking (this is one of our favourites)
- 500px, Flickr and Instagram for displaying your photography
- Google Maps to embed an interactive Google Map with a location pin
- OpenTable or ChowNow for restaurant booking or food ordering
- YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, and Wistia for sharing videos
And those are just some of the most popular, there are many others.
If you are working with a service that isn't officially integrated, you'll be pleased to know that most other services can be easily integrated using a code block and (optionally) Zapier to complete automations.
If you think about it, having the ability to easily integrate these services with your website can potentially save you hours of time each week and significantly increase your profits too. It all comes down to your systems and strategy.
5 — It's fees are straightforward and inclusive
Unlike with many other platforms, Squarespace can function as both your host and domain provider. The fee for hosting can be paid either monthly or annually and if paid annually, often includes a free year for your domain.
As Squarespace Circle Members, we can also offer you 20% off your first year of hosting if paid annually, which, combined with Squarespace's discount, often equals out to 40% in savings. If you have a domain with a different provider, this can either be transferred to Squarespace or kept with your provider and connected.
Really though, it's not about how expensive this service is, it's about how much value it brings your business.
Let's break this down a little further. Squarespace currently offers 4 different plans with different features which are divided under two main categories, Websites and Online Stores. The four different plans are as follows (please note that pricing is in USD and doesn't include our discount):
Personal - $12/mo if billed annually, or $16 month to month
This plan is perfect for those looking for a beautiful and simple website. It includes unlimited pages, galleries and blogs with up to 2 contributors which can have different permission settings. It also includes basic website metrics, SSL security and 24/7 customer support.
Business - $18/mo if billed annually, or $26 month to month
Basic - $26/mo if billed annually, or $30 month to month
This plan is perfect for the e-commerce entrepreneur. It includes all of the above plus no transaction fees, powerful e-commerce metrics, label printing via ShipStation, integrated accounting via Xero, checkout on domain, and customer accounts.
Advanced - $40/mo if billed annually, or $46 month to month
This plan is perfect for a bustling e-commerce business. It includes all of the above plus abandoned cart recovery, real time carrier shipping, automatic discounts, gift cards, and orders API so that you can integrate with any of your other service providers (order fulfilment, etc.)
6 — It's security and support are invaluable
As I've mentioned before, I've worked with WordPress websites that had hacking attempts against them daily. Some had security teams at the ready, and even with their efforts, their website would be drastically slowed and in some cases were completely inaccessible.
In other cases, limited or no security was in place and the hackers were able to wreak havoc on the website, stealing bandwidth, slowing down pages, and spamming the website with ads.
This doesn't happen with Squarespace.
A variety of security measures are included in your hosting fee. In addition, all of the platform updates are performed automatically and on Squarespace's end — you don't have to lift a finger.
Squarespace has 99.9% uptime and 24/7 support staff that are amazing. They are extremely friendly and really take pride in their work. All of their support staff are located at their headquarters in New York, Portland and Dublin and they offer twitter, email and live chat support.
In addition to that, they also offer articles, videos, and community forums for any other extra help you might be looking for. I've used all of these services myself and am extremely happy with them as you can tell!
7 — It can literally make you money
Now this point was kind of included in point 5, but I thought I would elaborate a little here.
Your website should be working for you. It shouldn't just be looking pretty.
Squarespace's websites can do heavy lifting for your business, and you can really think of your website as your newest employee. When you think of how much time your website can save you, and make you, it really makes their fees all the more valuable.
It's also easy to scale up your account as your earnings increase, which is why we love the integrated e-commerce features that Squarespace provides to its users. It is so quick to integrate your website with Stripe and PayPal, making it easy for you to list and sell both products and services directly from your website, whether they be physical or digital in nature.
And even if you are a bit old fashioned and wary about trying this feature out, consider this — many people today value convenience above all.
I'm not saying that's always right, but that is usually the case. So if someone looks at your website, and your competitors, and one of your competitors make its easier to purchase, book, or otherwise access what they need, there is a good chance that your competitor will get that business over you.
If you're the better choice, make sure your website reflects that. E-commerce functionality is just one puzzle piece that can go a long way to make you stand out.
Have any questions about Squarespace and whether its right for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below!